Friday, June 29, 2007

This Ain't Your Father's Clobberin' Time

Rock Bottom
Joe Casey and Charlie Adlard

I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book. I knew both names but couldn't really recall from where. I knew they were comic book names, and that was about it.

This is the story of a man who is turning to stone. It's the story of The Thing without space particles or anyone shouting "Clobberin' Time!" So it's good on an entirely different basis. Yes, it's good. It's a meditation, albeit a brief one, on what it might actually be like if you were to start turning to stone. It's unlikely many of us would do anything heroic or seek out to do anything heroic. Let's face it, that's reserved for the comic books.

Nope, this is about a guy whose life is pretty crappy and he's trying to deal with it the best he can, when bam, it goes all kooky. It's as much an examination of what happens when you know you're dying as it is about re-examining a superhero origin. It's paced well and the story is straightforward yet with enough curveballs to keep it interesting.

I wasn't sold on the art at first. The lines are fine, but it was just linework on a lot of white space. I got used to it soon enough but I'm not the biggest fan - I like a bit more depth so the shading worked but the rest just wasn't my thing. The character work is top notch, the sets and backgrounds are all clear, it just feels more like a sketchbook than finished work to me - albeit, a very accomplished sketchbook. I know this is to emphasize the stone-man but I think having a bit more shading or greyscales or whatever would have just given the whole work a lot more depth.

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